Sunday, August 25, 2013

Flex Your Understanding of Time Perceptions

Waiting for your special order of lingerie to arrive will seem longer than waiting for your special order of cashews. That is, unless you’re one of those very rare people who finds cashews to be highly sexy.
     Researchers at University of Southern California and University of Pennsylvania explain this by saying sexual cues lengthen the subjective time interval until a reward is delivered. Moreover, the effect generalizes. In one study, a group of men were shown illustrations from a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Later, the men were asked to consider receiving an Amazon gift certificate that same day or receiving the certificate three months hence. Each man was asked individually to say how much higher the value would need to be on the delayed-delivery certificate for the man to choose that one.
     Before being asked for a value estimate, another group of men were exposed to scenes of nature instead of women.
     The Victoria’s Secret group showed more impatience: They set higher dollar amount expectations as their compensation for waiting.
     It turns out that if your shopper has just been shopping for lingerie, he’s more likely to be impatient for delivery of his cashews—or whatever it is you sell—in a different store.
     These same researchers plus one from Duke University found that spatial distance can also distort perceptions of time. Study participants were asked to imagine going to a post office the same day and then going to a bookstore in three months. Some of the participants were told the two locations were close-by. The rest were told the trip between the two was long.
     Those who had been told the distance was long reported the subjective time interval of the three months to be longer. Similarly, people who imagined moving far away upon retirement estimated the time until retirement to feel longer than did people who imagined not moving far away.
     Recognize that your perception of delay time might be different than your customer’s. The customer might be thinking, “You don’t appreciate the bother this delay causes me.” Allow her or him sufficient time to briefly tell you about the bother, and then show you understand and appreciate the specifics of what the customer said. You could start with, “I understand what a nuisance it causes for you to have to put your project on hold because of the late delivery. How can I make things right?”

Click below for more: 
Face Your Fate About Service Delays 
Ease Customer Anger at Delivery Delays 
Clock Customer Actions to Fit Time Metaphors

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